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Posts tagged ‘WW1’

Canberra: Atatürk Memorial Garden, Remembering Gallipoli

In Canada, places like Ypres, Vimy Ridge, Passchendaele, and Flanders Field resonate in the collective national history.

For Australia and New Zealand, it is Gallipoli, known in modern Turkish history as the battle of Çanakkale.

On 25 April 1915, Australian and New Zealand (ANZAC) troops stormed the Turkish Gallipoli peninsula in support of the British Empire’s efforts to secure the high ground over the narrow Dardanelles strait and approach from the eastern Mediterranean into the Sea of Marmara and beyond to the Black Sea. The Turks repelled the advance and the British retreated from the region eight months later after suffering great losses. In total on all sides, there were up to 400-thousand casualties.

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Canberra: Remembering ANZACs at Australian War Memorial

ANZAC Day is held annually on the 25th of April to commemorate Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) from the First World War and ANZAC military personnel in subsequent service around the world.

The day also marks the 1915 anniversary when ANZAC troops landed on the Gallipoli peninsula in Turkey. The attempted move did not end well for the ANZACs, as the Ottomans successfully repelled the invasion force. The land invasion stalled after eight months with subsequent withdrawal from Turkey to Egypt.

ANZAC Day in Australia and New Zealand has surpassed the commemoration of Remembrance Day held annually on the 11th of November in Commonwealth nations, including Canada and the United Kingdom.

In the Australian capital city of Canberra, the Australian War Memorial is a grand structure, housing an impressive collection of historical artifacts, collections, and documents, outlining and describing Australian action at home and overseas. One day or an afternoon makes for a great introduction, but multiple visits are required to plumb the depths of their extensive archives. At the end of every day, the War Memorial closes its doors with a farewell to visitors in the “Last Post” ceremony, beginning at 455pm local time.

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Canberra: Poppies at the Australian War Memorial

The word “poppy” in Germany is associated with the delicious poppy seed filling (“Mohn”) commonly used in cakes and pastries. Elsewhere, poppies are unfortunately associated with the production and consumption of hard drugs.

It’s easy to forget another representation associated with the flower: a commemoration symbol for the war dead.

Wild poppies grow in Belgium, and in particular, in the Ypres salient, one of many places where bodies, blood, and mud were the norm in close-contact trench warfare in World War One. Canadian physician and Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae was serving in the 1st Field Artillery Brigade, and after burying his friend, Lieutenant Alexis Helmer who died of injuries sustained during the Second Battle of Ypres, McCrae wrote the poem “In Flanders Fields” as he took the scene before him. Moved by McCrae’s poem, American Moira Michael began in 1918 the practice of wearing poppies on Remembrance Day.

It’s why you may see people sporting poppies on their lapels in the days leading up to November 11; the tradition is encouraged and upheld mostly in Commonwealth countries. In Australia and New Zealand, the big day of commemoration is ANZAC Day on April 25.

At the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, over one hundred thousand names are inscribed on the walls at the Roll of Honour; these are the names of people killed in action since 1885. A paper poppy is placed next to each name for relatives or direct descendants.

Roll of honour, west, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, ACT, Australia
Roll of honour, east, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, ACT, Australia

Roll of honour: west (top), east (bottom) : Australian War Memorial, Canberra, ACT

I made the two photos above at the War Memorial’s Roll of Honour on 6 September 2012; this post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at fotoeins.com.

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